Digital technologies: The great levelers


Lonely Planet has long made everyone an adventurer, IMHO, thereby sapping much travel of any real adventure. The Discovery Channel and National Geographic, from what I hear in the street, have made nearly any experience you can imagine accessible from the comfort of your own armchair.

“So you went walking in Antarctica? (Yawn.) Whatever. I saw Antarctica on TV last week. Yeah, it was awesome. All those fuckin’ penguins, eh?”


And now Google Goggles will make anyone with the price of a smartphone a polymath, a know-it-all.

“Yo, what’s that?”

“Just a sec’. Okay, yeah. Seems it’s a three-dimensional shadow of a tesseract… With a ribbon on it.

“A tesseract? What the hell is a tesseract?”

“Just a sec’…”

“Whoa! Forget about tesseracts. Lookit that babe at the bar.”


Penguins and babes are equally awesome, as it just about anything else that impinges on one’s phenomenal field, unless it’s “fuckin’ awesome,” in which case it might be mildly interesting.

He holds his phone up so he can let Google Goggles check it out. “Uh-oh.”


“See the way the muscles between her eyes push up when she’s smiling?”


“She’s gaming us, my boy. A sincere smile, the muscles would be pulling down.”

“Yeah?” says the other, pointing his own phone at the cutie-patootie,* snapping her photo and then consulting Google Goggles. “Check this out. Here’s her Facebook page, and look here at what she says her interests are. I don’t care if she’s sincere or not; I want me some of that.” 

His friend, who is really no friend at all as you can tell by his smile, neglects to mention the medical report that’s just popped up on his own phone.


Digital technology is making everyone a writer, robbing real writers of any respect for their calling or their craft. Digital technology is leaving us with fewer and fewer genuine readers; issues of relative literary quality are being drained of any force. Digital technology, together with TV, mass tourism and mass tourism guides, has trivialized travel and adventure. Digital technology, now, is giving us all the power to learn anything there is to know about everything and everyone, but we still won’t know what to do with all this information. Information is not wisdom, I am a reactionary old crock, Kindles are better reading devices than iPads, etc.

What else can I say to cheer you up this fine afternoon?


*Note. I used ‘IMHO’ earlier, which cancels ‘cutie-patootie’ in terms of my with-itness creds.